If you have been named as the executor of someone’s will, one of the first tasks you may wish to do is to contact a probate attorney to get help fulfilling your role. A Suffolk County probate attorney at Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can provide you with invaluable assistance in dealing with the entire probate process and making sure you complete the many duties required of an executor.
Executors have a substantial amount of responsibility, and it is up to an executor to make sure that the deceased person’s wishes are followed and to make sure that the heirs are able to receive their inheritance as quickly as possible.
An executor can sometimes be held personally responsible if decisions that the executor makes are not in the best interests of the heirs and those decisions cause a loss of value of the estate. You do not want to put yourself at legal risk or let down the deceased person or his or her heirs.
Get the advice you need today to make smart choices as you move through the probate process and fulfill your role as executor. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC provides help with the probate process to clients in Suffolk County and surrounding areas, so give us a call as soon as you learn that you have been named as the executor of someone’s estate.
How a Probate Attorney Can Help an Executor
A probate attorney helps an executor at all steps of fulfilling his role in getting a deceased person’s will probated and getting the estate’s affairs wound up. An attorney can help an executor to:
- Determine where probate will take place. In Suffolk County, NY, the Surrogates Court for the 1oth Judicial District is in charge of handling “all issues involving wills and the estates of people who die.” The same court also “handles cases involving unclaimed property of the deceased who had no will as well as guardianships and adoptions.” You will need to file the court paperwork with the appropriate court where the deceased person owned property.
- Petition for probate. Your probate attorney can take care of the initial paperwork which is required to get the process started.
- Understand your fiduciary duty. Executors have a duty to manage estate property, make decisions which are best for heirs, and ensure they follow the instructions of the deceased. You should avoid actions which appear as if you are putting your own interests above the interests of the estate.
- Provide appropriate notice. Heirs and creditors all need to be provided with notice of probate proceedings. Depending upon circumstances, notice may need to be provided directly to heirs or may need to be published in a relevant newspaper.
- Have estate assets valued. You may need to secure professional appraisals for certain property and assets which are owned by the estate. Getting a correct valuation is essential to determine if estate taxes will be owed.
- Comply with tax obligations. Estate taxes may be assessed on larger estates. There may also be taxes in other situations as well, such as when property is sold when winding up the estate affairs and there are capital gains on the sale.
- Facilitate the transfer of title. Property has to be transferred to new owners at the close of the probate process.
- Defend the will. If there is a will contest, the executor will generally need help defending the will and proving its validity.
These are just a few of the many different things that a Suffolk County probate attorney can provide assistance with for executors.
Getting Help from a Suffolk County Probate Attorney
While you can decline to serve as an executor even if a deceased person named you in his will, most of the people who are asked to serve as an executor will agree to do so because they want to respect the wishes of their deceased friend or relative. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC can help you to determine if you can and should serve as executor and can help you to understand all that is involved.
Our experience legal team will also make the process of serving as an executor easy by guiding you through the steps you must take, by filing court paperwork for you, and by doing as much of the legal work as possible for you. To learn more about how a Suffolk County probate attorney can help you if you’ve been asked to serve as an executor, give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online. You can also join us for a free seminar to learn more about the probate process.